Family sues wind farm alleging health damage, falling property value

by John Spears, Toronto Star  WATCH VIDEO

A rural family near Chatham have launched a lawsuit against a nearby wind farm, claiming it has damaged their health and devalued their property.  Lisa and Michel Michaud, and their adult children, have launched the lawsuit against the Kent Breeze wind farm, which was developed by a unit of Suncor Energy Services.

They are seeking an injunction that would shut down the operation, as well as damages totaling $1.5 million plus other costs.

Their statements have not been tested in court; they could be challenged by the defendants, and amended or deleted.

The lawsuit follows a decision earlier this summer from Ontario’s environmental review tribunal, which allowed the wind farm to proceed.

But the tribunal said its decision was not the last word on the controversy over wind farms.

“The debate should not be simplified to one about whether wind turbines can cause harm to humans,” the two-member panel wrote in its decision.

“The evidence presented to the tribunal demonstrates that they can, if facilities are placed too close to residents,” it said.

“The question that should be asked is: What protections, such as permissible noise levels or setback distances, are appropriate to protect human health?”

The Michauds live on a 12.5 acre property near Thamesville, with a house and barn they built themselves. Michel Michaud runs a home renovation company. The couple and their children, in their 20s, also raise goats, chickens, turkeys peacocks and ducks. They plan to start a bed and breakfast.

But they say the wind farm, which started up in May with eight large turbines, has changed their lives.

The closest turbine is 1.1 kilometre away, but the Michauds say a “tunnel effect” from the row of turbines stretching into the distance compounds the impact on their property.

Current Ontario regulations allow turbines within 550 metres of a dwelling.

The Michauds say the wind farm exposes them to “audible and inaudible noise, low frequency noise and light flicker that negatively affect their health, cause vertigo, annoyance, sleep disturbance, despair and exhaustion.”

Michel Michaud says the turbines also affect his ability to concentrate, causing him to make mistakes at work.

“We want our lives back,” Lisa Michaud said in an interview.

9 thoughts on “Family sues wind farm alleging health damage, falling property value

  1. A courageous couple taking their destiny in hand. I am sure this is the tip of the iceberg. The government will not help the people, so people will help themselves.

    • Grabbing the crock by the tail…..maybe this will be a language the province will understand. Hey McGuinty…..you better set up a meat counter number dispenser. It better go alot higher than the 900 you brag about. This is only the beginning.

      • Maybe Duiguid and Suzuki can help with lugging the dispenser replacement. Maybe that will be the second story the Toronto Star will cover on green energy disatisfaction in Ontario.

  2. The most important thing here is we learn , there is so many out there
    that could start a simular lawsuit now, this is how we stop mcguinty .
    I only hope that when the witnessess/ video and this families health
    records come to court , they do not accept a buyout and dissappear.
    This is what Suncors lawyers are working on right now ,,, aren’t you .

  3. Breaking News
    Just heard on CBC Radio 7:15 news: Barbara Asbees` story re: Their gag order & treatment at the hands of the Wind Co. & the Liberal gov.`s steadfast denials/refusal to do anything about IWTs, way out of compliance etc., etc..
    Thank you Barbara, for speaking up/out regardless of your gag order! You deserve a medal!
    We will win this fight yet!
    PS-CBC has info on their site regarding this for more info. Sorry I didn`t catch the address.

  4. To: Lisa and Michel Michaud
    Thank you for standing up to a big corporation and government. I live near Ridgetown and there are many of us in this area that have similar problems. Government and the wind companies have tried to keep this quiet so it is hard to tell how many people this has affected. More people need to speak out like you have.

    The local radio station had a story on this
    http://cksyfm.com/2011/09/22/turbine-lawsuit-over-health/
    They also have a poll on page. Go vote, a way of showing your support for the Michauds.

    • If it was jury trial they would have a very good chance of winning. With judge only ruling maybe not so good a chance of winning.

  5. We (the tens of thousands against turbines) should seriously consider launching a massive class action suit.
    Strength in numbers, it works.

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